TechNet’s long search for a new head has come to an end. The high-tech trade group has hired Rey Ramsey as its new CEO, according to a source familiar with the process. An announcement could come as early as Wednesday.
The move comes after TechNet President and CEO Lezlee Westine exited for the Personal Care Products Council in April. TechNet General Counsel and Senior Vice President Jim Hawley, who is based in California, has been serving as acting CEO for the association.
TechNet spokesman Jim Hock did not immediately respond to calls and an e-mail.
Korn/Ferry served as the headhunting firm for the search.
Ramsey joins the group after serving as CEO of One Economy Corp. The company, which was co-founded by Ramsey in 2000, connects low-income people to technology by bringing broadband into their homes. Prior to founding One Economy, Ramsey worked as chief operating officer and president of the Enterprise Foundation and served in the cabinet of two governors of Oregon, working as the state’s director of housing and community services.
TechNet’s search committee was choosing between Ramsey and Mary Beth Cahill, former head of EMILY’s List and manager of Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) failed presidential bid, according to tech lobbyists.
Westine’s exit had fueled rumors on K Street that TechNet would merge with another tech association, such as the Information Technology Industry Council or the Information Technology Association of America.
Her departure followed that of two other lobbyists for the trade group: Bret Wincup, who joined the Information Technology Industry Council in March 2008, and Michael Platt, who led TechNet’s grass-roots lobbying efforts and joined the Recording Industry Association of America in June of that year.
Betsy Mullins remains TechNet’s only registered lobbyist.
However, the group’s decision to reinvest in Washington, D.C., by hiring Ramsey appears to have solidified its position as an independent face in the nation’s capital.
Formed in 1997, TechNet is a bipartisan association of high-tech leaders that lobbies on everything from education to Internet fees. The group spent $280,000 on federal advocacy in 2008, according to Senate lobbying disclosure reports. TechNet has spent $120,000 this year on lobbying.
The association’s political action committee doled out $34,110 to federal candidates during the 2008 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. TechNet is also known for helping raise thousands of dollars hosting fundraisers for politicians.